Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias says Cyprus will need to have in the future friendly relations with neighbouring countries, without them retaining intervention rights or foreign troops on the island.
In an interview with the Sunday edition of “Politis” newspaper, Kotzias also notes that Turkey has much more to gain as a “force of peace”, instead of acting as a force of war and violence.
He also points towards the diplomatic activity, following fresh geopolitical and energy developments, and says that these may provide the rationale for Ankara to follow a “low key policy” and one that contributes to the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Kotzias underlines that the settlement will need to safeguard the rights of all citizens and address the fundamental problem, which is also the cause of the Cyprus problem, i.e. the occupation by Turkey.
“The Cyprus problem is not primarily a problem of differences between two communities, but rather [a result of] foreign occupation of part of the island and of the presence of occupation troops in the areas inhabited by the Turkish Cypriots”, the Greek Foreign Minister stresses.
He also underlines Greece`s opposition to the establishment of a Turkish military base in Cyprus after a settlement. This, he goes on, “will mean that the occupation will become permanent and legal for an area of the Republic of Cyprus” while Ankara will have sovereign rights on Cyprus territory.
The Greek Foreign Minister notes that the Turkish army must leave the island in its entirety, on the basis of a realistic plan, and dismisses the view that a part of it must stay behind in order to guarantee the solution. This will be the proof of a non-solution, he adds.
On Ankara`s EU aspirations, Kotzias says the country can be part of the European family once it satisfies all preconditions.
The head of Greek diplomacy also notes Athens` full support to the efforts for a Cyprus solution and to the choices of the government of the Republic of Cyprus, “without second thought”.
In reply to recent statements by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the Treaty of Lausanne, signed in 1923, the Greek Foreign Minister notes that “it does neither any good to state revisionist claims at the expense of Greece”, nor to deny international law and agreements, such as the Convention on the Law of the Sea or the Lausanne Treaty.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Peace talks are currently underway to find a negotiated settlement that will reunify the country under a federal roof.